Aluminium ores

Aluminium ores (EN: aluminium ores; DE: Aluminiumerze, Aluerze; FR: minerais d'aluminium; ES: minerales de aluminio; RU: алюминиевые руды) are the natural mineral formations, which are containing aluminium in such compounds and concentrations, at which their industrial usage is technically possible and economically feasible.

There is known the large quantity of minerals and rocks, which are containing aluminium, but only few of them may be used for the industrial obtainment of the metal. The bauxites have got the widest extent as the aluminium raw material; besides this, there are also considered (and in some countries, including the USSR, are used) as the aluminium ores the alunite ores and nepheline-apatite ores. The latter ones simultaneously serve as the source for the obtainment of the phosphates. The prospective raw materials for the extraction of aluminium are the high alumina content kyanite (distene), sillimanite and andalusite schists, the high alumina content kaolinite clays and argillites, and also the leucites (pseudo-leucites, namely, the orthoclase and nepheline pseudomorphs according to the leucite), anorthosites, labradorites, dawsonites, aluminium phosphates, the ashes of the coals.

The aluminium ores are the complex raw materials: they extract gallium, vanadium and scandium from the bauxites, besides the aluminium; the extraction of iron, titanium, and other components is also technologically possible. The most common genetic types of the bauxite ores are the lateritic and sedimentary; the lateritic bauxites, as a rule, have the better quality. Among the non-bauxite types of the aluminium ores, there distinguish themselves the following genetic types: igneous, namely, nepheline (urtite), nepheline-apatite, leucite, and others; hydrothermal-metasomatic, namely, alunite ores; sedimentary, namely, kaolin clays, argillites; metamorphic, namely, kyanite schists, and other schists with high alumina content.

In the foreign countries, because of the limited reserves and rising prices for the bauxites, they conduct the search for the new technological schemes for the processing of the non-bauxite types of the aluminium ores. The reserves of such ores are very large; for example, just in the USA, they are estimated at 160 billion tonnes. The alumina, which is obtained from all types of the aluminium raw materials, is processed into the aluminium metal only by the electrothermal method within all countries.

Guinea, Australia, Brazil, Jamaica, India, and Cameroon, have the largest reserves of the bauxites. There are also concentrated within the industrialized capitalistic and developing countries the large reserves of the non-bauxite types of the aluminium raw materials: nephelines (Norway), alunites (USA, Iran, Spain), phonolites-leucites (Italy), anorthosites (USA, Norway, Canada), kaolin clays (USA, Germany), and others. See also the "Aluminium industry" article about the production and consumption of aluminium.